Daly drives Seton LaSalle past Greensburg CC in Class 2A quarterfinals

Thursday, February 24, 2022 | 10:21 PM

Mallory Daly knows how to take hits and she knows how to dish them out.

The sophomore guard from Seton LaSalle was a football player growing up in Brentwood. She played quarterback and defensive back, connecting up with her twin brother, O’Malley, for touchdowns when they were fifth graders.

Daly’s toughness was on full display Thursday night in the WPIAL Class 2A girls basketball quarterfinals.

She scored 34 points, picked off eight steals and made 17 of 20 free throws as the fifth-seeded Rebels went on the road and topped No. 4 Greensburg Central Catholic, 47-30, to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2013-14.

“This girl is aggressive in all aspects of life,” Seton LaSalle coach Jordan Giles said. “She has that toughness in an athlete that you can’t teach. It was born with her. She has skill and athleticism all in one.”

Seton LaSalle (17-6), which led from the opening jump ball and kept attacking with Daly, advances to play No. 1 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (20-4) in Monday’s semifinals at a time and site to be determined.

The Rebels also clinched a spot in the PIAA playoffs.

Greensburg Central Catholic (18-5) can qualify if Seton LaSalle beats OLSH. GCC has not been to the semifinals since 2016-17.

“Mallory had a great game, but we didn’t defend her well,” GCC coach Chris Skatell said. “It’s about a willingness to put it all in the table, and we didn’t do that. Mallory, she did that. When someone that good is playing at that level, it’s going to be a long night.”

The 34-point total was four off Daly’s career high. She had 38 earlier this season against West Mifflin.

The 5-foot-8 Daly drove the lane for tough shots, often times in heavy traffic, and either finished or was fouled. She also pulled away a number of rebounds from taller players.

With 5:39 left in the third quarter, she went crashing into the bleachers near the GCC student section, a loud bang causing the crowd to go silent. But she quickly recovered and got back to work.

“I was all right,” she said.

She scored 15 in the fourth quarter, including 9 of 11 free throws as the Rebels stretched their lead to double figures.

The Rebels led 30-24 after three but outscored GCC 16-6 in the fourth, holding the host team to single digits in every quarter.

“We all played better as a team tonight,” Daly said. “We had a better attitude and our defense was better too. It’s nice to move on after we lost in the first round last year.”

GCC beat Seton LaSalle earlier in the season, 61-52, and Daly was limited to 12 points.

The Centurions’ scoring duo of senior Bailey Kuhns and sophomore Mya Morgan were held in check for most of the night in the rematch. Kuhns finished with 13 points before fouling out with 51.1 seconds left. Morgan scored 12.

“We focused more on Kuhns. She is awesome on the inside,” Giles said. “We tried to keep her from getting the ball, but when she did, we were all over her.”

Skatell was glad his team moved the ball well, but the Centurions could not generate scoring runs.

“We got impatient and we needed more scoring,” he said. “Daly had a great game, but Seton really hit the boards. It’s deflating when someone plays you zone, but it worked for them. We seemed a little tired. I’m proud of my kids. They battled their butts off.”

GCC cut it to 26-24 late in the third, but Seton LaSalle reeled off nine straight points in a 13-4 run to take a 39-26 advantage. Daly scored off a steal to put her team up by 11.

The Rebels led 18-9 after one quarter as Daly and senior Ava Dursi made 3-pointers.

Senior Meghan Zambruno and Morgan hit 3s to start the second, but Seton LaSalle took a 23-17 lead into the half.

Dursi added nine points for the Rebels.

The semifinal will be unique for Giles, in her fourth year as coach. She played AAU basketball for OLSH coach Don Eberle.

Giles was anxious to see who won the Penn Hills-Highlands boys 5A quarterfinal Thursday. Her husband is Penn Hills coach Chris Giles, the all-time leading scorer at Seton Hill.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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